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Punahou to install 460-KW PV system


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POSTED: Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Punahou School is going solar, with plans to install a 460-kilowatt photovoltaic solar system on seven buildings across the school's campus.

The system, which is being installed by Honolulu-based Island Pacific Energy LLC, is expected to generate enough power to be used by 154 homes in a year.

A total of 2,184 solar modules and five inverters should be installed by mid-November this year in several phases.

The project is also expected to offset nearly 1 million pounds of carbon dioxide each year, equivalent to 100 cars removed from Oahu's highways.

Island Pacific Energy, a company founded last year with headquarters at the Manoa Innovation Center, offers installation of the solar PV systems for no initial capital outlay, according to Joseph Saturnia, company president.

Island Pacific will install, own and maintain the system on the roof, and sell the power back to Punahou at a discount.

“;It's the first time anybody's done this type of arrangement with a nonprofit in the state of Hawaii,”; said Saturnia.

SunEdison Hawaii of Kailua had a similar arrangement for the installation of solar PV panels on the rooftop of the Sam's Club on Keeaumoku, which belongs to Wal-Mart Stores Inc.

Saturnia estimated the cost for Punahou to install the system on its own would have between $4 to $5 million.

Island Pacific Energy's target markets are nonprofits like Punahou and government projects.

For Punahou, a private coed school with about 3,760 students from kindergarten to 12th grade, the photovoltaic installation is part of a schoolwide sustainability initiative.

“;Our hope as a school is to model and promote environmental sustainability through institutional action and through individual choice,”; Punahou President James K. Scott said. “;We want each person in the school to know that it is not only about reducing consumption, it is also about creating viable possibilities and alternatives.”;

Punahou students will be able to monitor how much power each of the systems generates.